Europe 2016 - Picnic in Jardin du Luxembourg

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Visiting a Parisian flea market has been on my bucket list for years and years.

So when we made the decision to spend a few days in Paris at the end of our trip, I made it my mission to find a market to visit. Most major markets occur on weekends. However, a good amount of googling revealed Marché D'Aligre, an everyday apart from Monday market, with both fresh produce and a small flea market too.

When travelling, I am not a traditional "wear sneakers, carry a poncho at all times and pay extra for audio tours" type tourist. I always prefer side stepping from the main attractions and pretending to be an actual local. So I made it the plan for our last day in Paris, and of our holiday, to visit Marché D'aligre to buy food for lunch and then catch the Metro to Jardin du Luxembourg to devour our french delights in a luxurious fashion. 

And my oh my, we were in heaven, in awe, in love.

The simple act of displaying the farm produce in wooden crates immediately elevated the markets beyond any status an Aussie market could hope to behold. Not to mention those cute little blackboards with scrawly french and euros... no english words or $ could ever look that good. 

The flea market adjacent to the produce market was also just amazing.. I had to refrain from picking up everything and anything that caught my eye, and made home with a simple french linen tea towel. Next time I plan to spend a full weekend, with an empty suitcase, buying ALL the treasures.

In true ridiculous Hannah fashion, I had bought a picnic rug on the first day of this holiday - the gift shop in Kew Gardens was amazing! So I thought it perfect to lug around on this day so we could lounge around on the grass while eating. 

We set up a beautiful picnic spread on the grass, poured the wine and dug in.. but not before long, a groundsman asked us to move from the grass! Never in my Australian mind would I see any other purpose for a beautiful lawn than to picnic on it. 

Needless to say, we didn't mind so much, simply moving to the nearby seats, using one as a table. 

 

It was perfect. 

 

Beatrice also took beautiful photos of this day and shared on her blog.

Europe 2016 - Flaner à Paris

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Paris. 

We had the most wonderful time with three friends. I could have easily lived in those three days forever. 

I suppose the only place to start is the beginning.

We met my friend Sarah, who had flown in from Berlin at Gare de Lyon, arriving from Nîmes via TGV. After paying an exorbitant amount for a taxi, we arrived to our beautiful, beautiful hotel. Hotel Henriette. 

It was love at first sight when I saw her on Booking.com. And Henriette lived up to the photographs - she was perfect and we were in heaven as we checked in early and squeezed into the little lift up to the top floor. 

After a quick refresh, we decided the best way to get to know Paris was to walk it. So we walked. 

 

After a long walk, and peruse through Shakespeare Book Company, we were trés faim! After all it was 3pm.

We found a gorgeous, simple, quirky restaurant to eat at just around the corner from the book shop and ordered our favourite french fare. Snails, Steak Frites (with blue cheese sauce!) and I took the opportunity to test out un Kir, a drink my french tutor told me I had to try.

We then visited (the outside of) Notre Dame and slowly meandered home.

 

On the second day, we were expecting the arrival of more friends! Beatrice & Jake. While we waited for them to freshen up after their early flight and meet us for lunch we visited Musee D'orsay. 

For lunch we had even more snails, more wine, some beautiful gnocchi and Jean had "the best burger ever" in yet another beautiful french restaurant. 

We then decided we would walk to the Tour Eiffel... With a Police strike occurring that afternoon, we took a maze through the streets, turning back at many barricades, however eventually making our way there. En route, we crossed a patisserie and indulgently devoured our purchases on the grass beneath the tower. 

Our room was on the top level of Hotel Henriette, giving us a most magnificent rooftop view... That night we had yet another amazing meal and more wine, and so much fun, I would happily return to those few days for the rest of my life!